Google has been making big moves in AR. Building from momentum with Tango, the recent I/O conference spotlighted new ways to map building interiors (VPS), and use the smartphone camera to identify items in the real world (Google Lens).

The latter is a form of “visual search,” involving computer vision and machine learning to scan and identify physical objects. This could be a key technology for Google to boost search queries, it’s biggest source of revenue… they’ll just include visual searches in addition to text.

VPS-fueled Indoor mapping could meanwhile help Google measure/prove search marketing ROI by tracking consumers all the way to the cash register. Built on Tango, it applies “area learning” to map indoor spaces as a foundation for visual search and AR apps still to come.

Altogether, these moves stake Google’s claim of an AR future. We’ve long discussed its moves to counterbalance the smartphone-induced decline of search volume and CPCs. Google Assistant and “micromoments” were one answer; Visual search and VPS will be the next.

That means these technologies will play a part in protecting Google’s $48 billion search business. Combined with investments in VR (Daydream) and AR (Tango), Google will put lots of muscle behind VPS and Lens, which makes them worth watching closely.

We unpack all of this in the latest ARtillry Brief, which you can see below. Let us know if you have topic suggestions for upcoming coverage, or want to sponsor an episode.